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The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff
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637915,184 (4.02)35
Member:rbott
Title:The Silver Branch
Authors:Rosemary Sutcliff
Other authors:Julia Eccleshare (Introduction)
Info:The Folio Society Ltd, 44 Eagle Street, London
Collections:Your library, Folio Society
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction, Roman army, Roman Britain

Work details

The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff (1957)

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» See also 35 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
Not quite as much my favorite as Eagle of the Ninth --in the nature of things it is less triumphant, since it is set in later Roman Britain when local usurpers are pulling away from the central Roman Empire. The story is rather sympathetic to Carausius, the capable first usurper, but paints Allectus who killed Caurausius as the villain, and has the young heroes cooperate with the Caesar Constantius (father of Constantine the Great) in overthrowing Allectus on behalf of the Roman central government.. ( )
  antiquary | Jul 8, 2013 |
Not sure why I didn't like this as much, when I was younger. Maybe I'd just wanted more time with Marcus and Esca, and felt a little cheated by Flavius and Justin. Not so much, now: it was like meeting up with an old, old friend, to read this book again. It's a quick read, like the first book, and maybe the reread of this one was even more of a pleasure, because I was truly discovering something new in it this time.

I love the way Rosemary Sutcliff bases her books so strongly on real things -- on an attempt at reconstructing the real history behind something like the Eagle found in Silchester. I wish we knew what the real story is -- but maybe it isn't nearly so interesting as the story Sutcliff has told.

In any case, I have got to love Flavius and Justin, and Cullen, and to feel a little of their same loyalty for Carausius. I'm glad they go together at the end. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
Up until very recently I was unaware that Eagle of the Ninth, one of my all-time favorite Sutcliff books had a sequel. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me, and it's very demoralizing. Anyway, I made haste and got out The Silver Branch to read immediately. And then it sat in my To Be Read pile for ages until I made myself read it because I had to return it. Well, made myself read it isn't quite the right phrase, because I enjoyed every minute of it (except when a certain character died, which was very traumatic--two certain characters, I suppose).

I've read enough Sutcliffs by now that I can pick up the thread. Rutupiae light, for example, is only briefly mentioned in this book, but anyone who's read The Lantern Bearers (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) will know how important it is there. Similarly, there's the familiar old flawed stone with the dolphin carved in it. This book is a bit different from most of Sutcliff's though, in that it arguably has two main characters.

Justin (Tiberius Lucius Justinianus) has just been posted to Roman Britain as a surgeon to the Eagles who are supporting Carausius, the self-styled Emperor of Britain. He's excited because his family was originally from Britain. On his first day there he falls in with a young centurion about his age who turns out to be a cousin of his (Flauvius). And, as it further turns out, they are both descendants of Marcus Flavius Aquila, of Eagle of the Ninth fame (YAY!).

This being a Sutcliff novel, naturally they run into quite a bit of trouble. While I like Flauvius, Justin became the real hero of the novel for me. I think that's what Sutcliff intended (most of it is told primarily from his point of view), and it worked.

This is highly recommended for almost all ages (her prose is occasionally difficult). No bad content, except for a bit of violence.

Quotes:

"And above him towered the ramparts of Rutupiae: a grey prow of ramparts raw with newness, from the midst of which sprang the beacon-crested tower of the Light." (Okay, so I wrote that down solely for the Lantern Bearers reference. I love that book. I can't help it.)

"[Justin] was a friendly soul himself, but he was always gratefully surprised at any sign of friendliness from other people, and with his gratitude, his liking went out, hesitant but warm, to the red-headed centurion [Flauvius]."

"Here we are on the run, with the hunt up behind us and the world falling into shards around our ears and you bring your instrument-case away with you."

"The young Centurion, who had been completely still throughout, said very softly, as though to himself, 'Greater love hath no man--' and Justin thought it sounded as though he were quoting someone else." ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Up until very recently I was unaware that Eagle of the Ninth, one of my all-time favorite Sutcliff books had a sequel. This is not the first time something like this has happened to me, and it's very demoralizing. Anyway, I made haste and got out The Silver Branch to read immediately. And then it sat in my To Be Read pile for ages until I made myself read it because I had to return it. Well, made myself read it isn't quite the right phrase, because I enjoyed every minute of it (except when a certain character died, which was very traumatic--two certain characters, I suppose).

I've read enough Sutcliffs by now that I can pick up the thread. Rutupiae light, for example, is only briefly mentioned in this book, but anyone who's read The Lantern Bearers (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE) will know how important it is there. Similarly, there's the familiar old flawed stone with the dolphin carved in it. This book is a bit different from most of Sutcliff's though, in that it arguably has two main characters.

Justin (Tiberius Lucius Justinianus) has just been posted to Roman Britain as a surgeon to the Eagles who are supporting Carausius, the self-styled Emperor of Britain. He's excited because his family was originally from Britain. On his first day there he falls in with a young centurion about his age who turns out to be a cousin of his (Flauvius). And, as it further turns out, they are both descendants of Marcus Flavius Aquila, of Eagle of the Ninth fame (YAY!).

This being a Sutcliff novel, naturally they run into quite a bit of trouble. While I like Flauvius, Justin became the real hero of the novel for me. I think that's what Sutcliff intended (most of it is told primarily from his point of view), and it worked.

This is highly recommended for almost all ages (her prose is occasionally difficult). No bad content, except for a bit of violence.

Quotes:

"And above him towered the ramparts of Rutupiae: a grey prow of ramparts raw with newness, from the midst of which sprang the beacon-crested tower of the Light." (Okay, so I wrote that down solely for the Lantern Bearers reference. I love that book. I can't help it.)

"[Justin] was a friendly soul himself, but he was always gratefully surprised at any sign of friendliness from other people, and with his gratitude, his liking went out, hesitant but warm, to the red-headed centurion [Flauvius]."

"Here we are on the run, with the hunt up behind us and the world falling into shards around our ears and you bring your instrument-case away with you."

"The young Centurion, who had been completely still throughout, said very softly, as though to himself, 'Greater love hath no man--' and Justin thought it sounded as though he were quoting someone else." ( )
  | Apr 4, 2013 | edit |
When Justin, a Surgeon in the Eagles of Rome, is sent to Britain, he doesn't know what to expect. He soon finds a kinsman, Flavius, with whom he becomes fast friends. They uncover a possible plot against the Caesar Carausius, and attempting to warn him changes their lives forever.

This is the second of Rosemary Sutcliff's books that I've read, the second chronologically and third published in the Dolphin Ring series. Justin and Flavius are both related to a character from the previous book, and a key symbol from the first book returns as well. Sutcliff uses descriptive prose to carefully include historical details that add to the realistic feel of the book without ever packing in her research in a heavy-handed manner. The plot is impossible to describe; you get the feeling reading that she won't show you all her cards to the end, and then you'll know what it's all about. I do wish that I could have better understood the characters and their motivations, and I became annoyed with how often various occurrences or items in the story were referred to as "the thing." As in The Eagle of the Ninth, I felt that the dialog was a bit stilted. But when the book was in my hands, I still wanted to see where the story was going and kept reading to find out what would happen to Justin and Flavius. ( )
2 vote bell7 | Nov 29, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rosemary Sutcliffprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Keeping, CharlesIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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On a blustery autumn day a galley was nosing up the wide loop of a British river that widened into the harbour of Rutupiae.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
A young Roman army medical officer, sent to Britain during the period of waning Roman rule, befriends a kinsman with whom he shares an adventure of intrigue, exile, and underground activity with the Lost Ninth Legion.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374466483, Paperback)

More than a century after The Eagle of the Ninth leaves off, two cousins join the Roman side in the fight against a tyrannical British emperor.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:14 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A young Roman army medical officer, sent to Britain during the period of waning Roman rule, befriends a kinsman with whom he shares an adventure of intrigue, exile, and underground activity with the Lost Ninth Legion.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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